Plano Profile Magazine
Written by Justin Jones
"Collin Life Drawing classes helped put Plano artist on her creative path"
When Sharon Ventura is asked what drove her to be the painter that she is today, the figurative artist sitting in
the kitchen of her Plano home initially doesn’t say a word.
After a brief pause in the conversation, the former Collin College Visual Arts student looks across the living room
and makes eye contact with “Full Bloom.” Shortly after, with her eyes glued to this candid painting hanging in the
foyer to the left of the front door, Ventura thoughtfully answers the question: “It’s like you breathe … I paint,” she
says. “Painting is something inside my blood, inside my soul. It’s me.”
Ventura, who took Life Drawing classes at Collin College and has sold paintings that are located throughout the
United States and across the world, admits it has taken her years to get to this place of confidence and belief as
Her new, profound perspective also explains why “Full Bloom” – a large, simplistic yet bold acrylic painting of a
woman sprouting and surrounded by roses in bloom that has been featured in numerous art galleries – is one of
her most precious paintings.
Artistically, “Full Bloom” depicts Ventura’s unique style perfectly as it incorporates black lines surrounded by
pools of vivid color used to “paint” women experiences. In the case of “Full Bloom,” however, the woman’s
experience symbolizes Ventura’s own current state in life, both emotionally and as an artist, she says.
“It demonstrates beauty, confidence and coming into your own,” Ventura explains, while giving a tour of her
paintings inside her house that can easily be mistaken as its own art gallery.
As an artist, Ventura’s mission is to make you feel the woman’s presence in her paintings, and for the viewer to
be able to reflect on personal experiences with the women on the canvases. This personable approach is
arguably best highlighted in “Thinking of You,” Ventura’s latest and most-emotional painting. The green and
blue-hued piece shows a woman whose head rests on her arms as her eyes gaze soulfully out of the canvas to
the viewer. Upon looking at “Thinking of You,” her voice softens and her eyes begin to water.
“‘Thinking of You’ was painted in the time frame when a close friend was ill. Everyone has at least one person in
their life about whom they think of in a special way,” Ventura says about the painting. Then she added her
friend, Sherry Wilder, played a role in encouraging Ventura to take art classes at Collin College. “That painting,
oh gosh … I don’t like to go there because I get upset. My friend, Sherry Wilder, passed away and she was only
in her 40s. I miss her a lot. I often thought of her when I painted that.”
Ventura’s ability to take her emotional thoughts at the time and apply them to “Thinking of You” may not have
been possible if not for the Life Drawing classes she took from Professor Carter Scaggs, Collin College’s art
department chairman. She credits Professor Scaggs with allowing her to follow her creative path.
“I knew I needed to be able to draw the figure, classically rendered, to be able to draw the form, classically
rendered, so that I could move on to draw and paint what I envisioned,” Ventura said. “When I paint, it’s not just
about the figure, it’s also about the design, composition and color. Carter Scaggs was open to understanding
my direction and he supported and guided me in my endeavors.”
Ventura is an example of just one of the countless students that Collin College’s award-winning Visual Arts
faculty have helped perfect their artistic craft. Students in the program are offered classes in drawing, design
and art appreciation, painting, watercolor, ceramics, sculpture, art metals, printmaking, computer arts, and arts
They also have the luxury of using state-of-the-art labs for various disciplines, including design/watercolor,
digital, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and art metals.
“I think what sets us apart from some and links us to the best is that we put the students’ educational experience
first,” Professor Scaggs said. “On a daily basis, I see my colleagues strive to ensure that the students get the
attention and instruction they need to succeed now and in the future.”
Former Collin College Life Drawing art student Randy Dillon is also proof of that. Dillon’s creativeness is
embodied using a Wacom tablet with a touch-sensitive screen like a lithography stone to create prints from
scratch using traditional painting and drawing techniques.
“I use my artwork as my primary means to communicate. I have an active imagination that forces me to be
creative,” said Dillon, who has recently completed a photo book that he plans to publish. “I’ll create a design just
to tear it apart. Art is a game to me.”
And like playing chess, Dillon and Ventura have proven to be grandmasters of their painting styles, as both
artists recently had their artwork featured in the “Go, Figure” art show at Collin College’s THE ARTS gallery.
“Both Sharon and Randy displayed self-motivation, uninhibited creativity, and the commitment to keep going
‘when the going gets tough.’ They each had a sense of purpose,” Professor Scaggs said. “Ultimately, Sharon
and Randy have what every good artist must have … they are driven to create.”
For Ventura, creating a story with her paintings means “everything.”
“I find it interesting how people look at a piece and there is a connection to what I painted and they have their
own take on it based on their own experience,” Ventura said. “Every story about the painting is right. I have my
story and everybody has different experiences.”
Symbolically, an experience that Ventura had while attending the funeral of a friend’s father also paved the way
to her becoming the figurative artist that she is today.
At the funeral, she noticed the two words, “Mission Accomplished,” on a headstone next to where she was
standing. At home, while looking across at her paintings on the walls, Ventura said that reading those words
served as a pivotal moment in her life.
“Those two words made me smile and think, Oh my goodness! Here is a person who lived his life doing what he
wanted to do and was meant to do,” Ventura said. “When it comes to the end of the day, when I’m really old and
gray, I want to be able to say ‘Mission Accomplished’ about my life. I do not want to squander my life by not
being true to what I feel passionate about doing.”
To achieve that end, Ventura said she will continue painting, and aim to do it on a broader scale.
When asked what continues to drive her as an artist, Ventura glances over again at “Full Bloom” and confidently
says, “It’s who I am. It’s what I do.”
For more information on the Visual Arts program at Collin College, visit http://www.ccccd.edu/.
Justin Jones is a public relations writer for Collin College.